Press Releases

INPFL Fighters Killed My Entire Family

TRC Hearings Day Fifteen

January 31, 2008

MONTSERRADO COUNTY (TRC)?One of the last witnesses to testify Thursday, the final day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia Public Hearings in Montserrado County, claimed fighters of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) executed her entire family in her presence.

Norine Smith, weeping as she narrated her ordeal, named Doe Smith, Chinese-girl Smith, God-time-is-the-best Smith, and her husband, Harry as those who were executed at the St. Paul Bridge Community in Tweh Farm by the INPFL fighters of Prince Johnson.

Smith, 56, said they were en route from the Township of West Point to Brewersville when the fighters discovered her husband to be an ethnic Sarpo, arrested, and killed him and the children.

After her family was killed, Norine said the INPFL rebels made her eat human feces for meals after she was taken into captivity and tortured.

Daniel Sackie Sampson, another witness at Thursday's hearings confirmed the rounding-up of scores of West African nationals, mostly Ghanaians from Robertsport and Grand Cape Mount County, between September and October 1990 by fighters of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) upon the orders of Mr. Charles Taylor.

His testimony corroborated those of other witnesses who testified during the public hearings and recounted what happened to the West African nationals.

He said the West Africans were arrested when the NPFL leader, Charles Taylor, ordered citizens of countries contributing troops to the ECOMOG peacekeeping force to be executed.

Sampson, 31, said the West African nationals were executed and buried in mass graves by General Gbah Ray in the town of Gbah, Bomi County. He recalled how General Ray made a lady eat "kiss-meat" from the Lofa River, bordering Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties.

Another witness, Satta Gbafelee, claimed Ghanaian and Nigerian soldiers serving in the ECOMOG peacekeeping force killed her husband and set their home ablaze.

Gbafelee said she recognized the killers of her husband, Boima Tomekai, as Ghanaian and Ngerian ECOMOG soldiers. These soldiers then set their house and two vehicles on fire.

She said the peacekeepers claimed they were in pursuit of an INPFL fighter who they claimed ran into their yard near Monrovia Breweries. She said the incident happened on May 18, 1996.

Another witness, name withheld, said she was stabbed several times with a bayonet by Nicholas Solunteh, alias "GR Parker," a member of the defunct Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU), who is still after her life.

The anonymous witness said the incident took place on Sunday, July 14, 2002 when Solunteh went to her residence at ELWA junction asking for her husband. She said when she responded that her husband was out, Solunteh stabbed her several times.

She said this followed her refusal to allow Soluntehs' wife to use her mobile phone to make a call. She said when she was taken to the ELWA Hospital for treatment, doctors there advised her not to stay, for fear her attacker would return.

She said complaints filed against the ATU officer were ignored, adding it was Lewis Brown, a government official at the time, who assisted her to seek medical treatment at ELWA Hospital.

"I was however advised by Mr. Brown not to report the case to any human rights organization in the country at the time because I may not be able to tell the story," the witness said.

She said because of threats on her life, she and her family went into exile in Ghana, but again Solunteh went after them threatening to kill her, stating that they (ATU) don't "allow their wounded victims to stay alive."

She explained that Solunteh wrote and left a note at her residence at the Budumburam Refugee Camp in Ghana that said he would "finish her up." The note was handed over to Ghanaian Police authorities who searched for him but did not discover his hideout.

She said Solunteh is believed presently to be an officer of the Liberia National Police, although she said that has not been confirmed.

Narrating his involvement in the Liberian conflict, Musa Fofana claimed General Armah Youlu masterminded the assassination of the late United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO) leader, Major General Albert Karpeh.

Though he was not involved in the murder of Karpeh, also former Liberian Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Fofana was able to name those involved as "Cobra" and others.

He explained that when Karpeh died, the Liberians United Defense Force (LUDF) was renamed the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO). He said General Youlu served as Field Commander for the two groups inter-changeably.

Fofana, 31, said he voluntarily joined the fighting forces of LUDF, then ULIMO. He was involved in several operations including the overthrow of the government of Sierra Leone's former President, General Joseph Saidu Momo.

He explained that when Captain Valentine Strasser completed peacekeeping duties in Liberia in 1991, he requested fighters of the LUDF/ULIMO to assist them to overthrow the government of General Momo. Musa said he was 13-years-old when he joined LUDF and ULIMO and trained at the Daru Military Barrack, along with Captain Valentine Strasser for the mission.

He said he was also recruited by government forces fighting the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) in 2000.

Recounting massacres in Little Liberia and Jamah Bloh Towns, Rivercess County, Madame Elizabeth Whitfield said fighters of the NPFL killed over 550 persons after they accused two boys from the towns of being fighters of the Liberia Peace Council (LPC).

She said the rebels used cutlasses and pestles to murder their victims in January 1994. She said this happened when there was no fighting between NPFL and LPC forces who were occupying the two towns.

Whitfield said the victims included women, children and the elderly who came from the surrounding towns and villages to seek refuge in the two towns.

Also testifying, Sam Mohammed Kaba claimed that he was arrested and threatened with death by the late General Harrison Pennue, who accused him of planning to unseat the Samuel Doe government.

Kaba, 52, said he was forced to sit on the ground to await his execution upon the return of President Doe, who was then on a visit to Grand Gedeh County. To his great fortune, Kaba said his former instructor, who was special assistant to Pennue, intervened on his behalf.

He said he was intimidated by Pennue who wanted him to marry Pennue's daughter, a request he rejected because he already had a wife.

He said because of the harassment from Pennue, who wanted him to take his children abroad, he escaped and went into exile in Germany.

Kaba said he was happy when he learned that Pennue was killed along with former President Doe at the Freeport of Monrovia.

The witness said he was also accused by one Mamadee Konneh of planning to overthrow the government of Charles Taylor. He said following his arrest, he was threatened with death by General Robert Beer, now Chief of Security of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation.

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